September 28, 2020

Bihar parties unite in support of JD(U)’s demand to press for more funds from 15th Finance Commission

PATNA: All political parties in Bihar on Saturday unanimously raised the issue of “continual injustice” to the state in the devolution of central funds and decided to make a united call before the Centre and the 15th Finance Commission for more funds to be given to the state.

In an all-party meeting convened at the behest of the ruling JD(U) to discuss the possible changes in the 15th Finance Commission’s terms of reference, all major political parties, professional and academic organisations of the state said a unified effort must be made to ensure the state does not lose out on its share in central taxes.

The meeting, presided over by Assembly Speaker Vijay Kumar Chaudhary, was attended by senior leaders of JD(U), its ally BJP, and the Opposition RJD, Congress, CPI(ML) and CPI(M). Chief Minister and JD(U) national president Nitish Kumar, at whose behest the meeting was held, was not present in it. Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi of BJP and leader of Opposition Tejashwi Yadav of RJD also skipped the two-hour meeting.

“The 15th Finance Commission should retain the 2011 census figures in its term of reference while determining the share of states in the divisible pool of central taxes. The memorandum to be submitted to the commission on this matter should also include Bihar’s demand for special category status,” said Chaudhary.

Senior JD(U) leader RCP Singh, a close confidant of Nitish Kumar’s, raised the issue of “historical negligence and injustice” to Bihar and said it is time the state should get its “rightful share” in the central pool of funds and taxes to maintain its rapid progress.

“Bihar is a landlocked state. It has faced historical negligence and injustice due to central policy interventions. Floods, caused by rivers flowing from Nepal, ravage Bihar every year and causes massive destruction,” said Singh, a Rajya Sabha member.

Former finance minister Abdul Bari Siddiqui of RJD said: “The finance Commission must consider Bihar’s human development indicators and how Bihar has lagged historically. The panel must adopt a more conscious approach in the allocation of funds to the state”.

RJD national vice-president Shivanand Tiwari said since there are NDA governments both in Bihar and at the Centre, it should not be difficult for the state’s concerns to be heard and addressed.

State BJP vice-president Devesh Kumar said Bihar is presently on a “high growth trajectory” and that central help would intensify the state’s progress to include it in the league of developed states in just a few years.

With a team of Finance Commission members due for a two-day visit of Bihar in July, it was decided at the all-party meeting that the state’s demand would be raised forcefully before the panel.

Courtesy: Express News Service

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